By KELIN DILLON
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris held a virtual meeting on the afternoon of Friday, May 7, to discuss immigration policies concerning the border between the United States and Mexico.
Prior to the meeting, López Obrador ranted against the United States for giving money to nonprofits that were vocally critical of his administration, calling the actions “interference, interventionism and in favor of a coup.”
Despite his public lambasting of the U.S. government potentially causing tension in the virtual conference, AMLO reportedly made Harris laugh during their meeting by making a joke about the neighboring country’s relations.
“When relations between Mexico and the United States were not completely good, former President Porfirio Diaz attributed the phrase: ‘Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States,’ we can now say, because relations are better: ‘Blessed Mexico, very close to God and not too far from the United States,” jested López Obrador.
The two discussed jointly fighting against violence and corruption, in an attempt to curb the flow of immigrants from Central America to the U.S.-Mexican border, including improving conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to encourage potential migrants to stay in their native countries.
“Most people don’t want to leave home and when they do, it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there are no opportunities,” said Harris.
AMLO echoed Harris’ statements, saying, “we need to understand one another and avoid fighting.”
“We are in agreement when it comes to the policies that you are undertaking to curb migration and we will help. That is what I can say as of now. You can count on us,” he said.
The two high-ranking government officials also discussed topics like the worldwide covid-19 pandemic and the economy.
Harris is set to visit Mexico and Guatemala on June 7 and 8 on her first international diplomatic trip as vice president of the United States.